One great thing about running is definitely the community that comes with it and the super interesting people you meet and spend time with just because you have the same passion for running.
New York City is the best city to literally run into the most inspiring athletes. Just one run in Central Park will boost your motivation like crazy. One of them is Eric from DirtyOldSneakers. “I run, I eat, I sleep and run again. And sometimes I swim. But rarely”, he says. Check out my Q&A with him and find out why running makes him a better husband, father, friend, co-worker, basically a better human being:
Eric from DirtyOldSneakers.com
Do you remember your very first run?
I was never much of an athlete but growing up outside of Boston, I would always watch the Boston Marathon and think to myself, one day, I’ll run that race. Little did I know that one day I really would!
My first run as an adult was pretty uneventful. I had been cycling for a little over a year and started dating a woman who hated that I would disappear on the weekends for up to six hours at a time riding centuries. She was a runner, so as a compromise I bought a pair of running kicks and hit the dreadmill at the gym. When I started training for marathons shortly after that first indoor run she was less than enthused.
Whats the story behind “Dirty Old Sneakers”
When the NYC Marathon was cancelled in 2012 some friends and I decided that since we had trained to run 26.2, we were still going to run. So on that Sunday, we laced up and set out to run the miles in Central Park. We didn’t expect to see what we saw. In that park was the spirit of running; literally thousands of people were out there doing what we do. They were running in large and small groups, behind and under flags of their countries, taking photos at the finish line and just celebrating the sport. It was inspiring. It was that day that the seed was planted; I wanted to share this with others. It took another month, but slowly I started putting it together and almost five years later, I’m still banging away at the keyboard.
What is your biggest accomplishment when it comes to running?
My marathon PR is the obvious choice for this one, but if I really think about it, I’d have to say that my biggest accomplishment is the fact that I’m a runner at all. I need to dig deep for motivation all the time and the fact that I’ve stuck with it for as long as I have, run 16 marathons and participate in races almost monthly is always a shock to me when I sit back and think about it.
What would you consider as the hardest challenge so far in running?
Motivation, hands down motivation. To get out of bed earlier on the weekend than I do during the week to put on sneakers, go run in the rain, in the snow, in the freezing cold, in the heat and humidity, to be breathless on hills, to take that first step in a 20 miler is never easy for me.
Best race moment ever?
2011, Chicago Marathon, mile 18 – I’m on pace to what would be a marathon PR for me, it’s hot and humid and all I can think is, “I wonder if I’m doing damage to my body by running in this heat for so long.” I passed a sign that a spectator was holding that read “You’re Doing Epic Shit” and it hit me. At the time it was my fourth or fifth marathon and it hit me that this was now my life and I was in fact doing epic shit. The PR didn’t matter anymore, I was just happy to be out there being a runner.
“Running means to me…”
Running to me is sanity, it makes me a better husband, father, friend, co-worker, basically a better human being.
Who inspires you?
Every other runner out there inspires me. Whether they’re leading the pack or plodding along behind everyone, we’re all out there for the same thing, chasing that runner’s high.
What’s your next race and how to you prepare for it?
I’m signed up to run the NYRR Brooklyn Half in a few weeks. I’m coming back from an injury where I had to take a significant amount of time off, so my training hasn’t been optimal. My main goal is to make it to the finish line pain free.
If you could run wherever you want, where would it be?
If every day could be a cool, crisp, sunny day in Central Park in September, I’d be a pretty happy runner. Is that too cheesy?
Fun facts about me
1. My obsession with chocolate/chocolate chip ice cream has become an increasing problem to my training. 2. I cry at the finish line of every marathon I’ve run, don’t hold it against me.
Thanks Eric for your open words.
Check out his amazing website right now.